Tag Archives: Germany

METROPOLIS

Metropolis: Reconstructed and Restored
d. Fritz Lang / 1927 / Germany / 145 mins
Silent Film Series @ Barbican (London, UK)

Production still from Metropolis

A little while back, I wrote a piece about F.W. Murnau’s  Der Lezte Mann / The Last Laugh (1924), with reference to some rather odd title-cards and the notion of whether what we see of certain films (particularly those from the silent era) can be considered ‘authentic’, and what these notions of authenticity might mean for audiences today. This particular point is illustrated, in a very unique way, by the most recent, high profile restoration of Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction classic, Metropolis.

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THE GHOST

The Ghost [aka The Ghost Writer]
d. Roman Polanski / 2010 / France-Germany-UK / 128 min
Viewed at: Screen 12 @ Odeon (Norwich, UK)

Still from The Ghost

Adapted, as it was, from a novel by Robert Harris, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost is of a generic style which, though popular in novels, has somehow lost favour in the filmic realm. Espionage, intrigue and skullduggery continues to sell paperbacks across the globe, but in cinema, it often seems little more than a throwback to a certain brand of 1970s Hollywood. That said, this might be unapologetically old-fashioned filmmaking from Polanski, but it’s unfeasibly well done.

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M

M
d. Fritz Lang / 1931 / Germany / 105 min
Viewed on: Sky Arts 2 (UK)

Still from Fritz Lang's M

There is an unmistakable brilliance about German director Fritz Lang’s capability of mood, his innate ability to create a cinematic atmosphere that, far from being a result of working within German expressionism, seems to be the very thing that made that movement – of which he was a vital part – so great in the first place. M is, of course, Lang’s first talkie, and it’s here that Lang’s capability of mood feels most apparent.

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VIDEOGRAMS OF A REVOLUTION

Videograms of a Revolution / Videogramme einer Revolution
d. Harun Farocki, Andrei Ujica / Germany / 1992 / 106 mins
Viewed at: Starr Auditorium @ Tate Modern (London, UK)

If film is possible, then history too is possible.

Audiences are mighty interesting things. What one audience finds horrific and appalling, another might read as humour. And ‘audiences’, traditionally, have not been especially kind to the starkly brilliant work of German artist and filmmaker Harun Farocki.

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THE LAST LAUGH / DER LETZTE MANN

The Last Laugh / Der Letzte Mann
d. F.W. Murnau / Germany / 1924 / 101 mins
Viewed at: Screen 3 @ Cinema City (Norwich, UK)

One of the problems with viewing (and writing about) silent cinema, comes with the knowledge that there is every possibility that – due to the loss of certain elements (such as tinting and toning), the addition of others (newly created soundtracks), or even re-editing (which often took place when films were re-released) – there is no way of knowing whether what you are watching is the ‘genuine article’, the film ‘as it was meant to be seen’.

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